24 March 2019

posted 22 Mar 2019, 04:37 by C S Paul

24 March 2019

Scripture reading and Sermon

Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church 

Fourth Sunday of Great Lent (Canaanite woman)

Reading from the Scripture for this Sunday

Matthew 15:21-31 New King James Version (NKJV)

A Gentile Shows Her Faith

21 Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 

22 And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.”

23 But He answered her not a word.

And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.”

24 But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

25 Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”

26 But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”

27 And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”

28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

Jesus Heals Great Multitudes

29 Jesus departed from there, skirted the Sea of Galilee, and went up on the mountain and sat down there. 

30 Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus’ feet, and He healed them. 

31 So the multitude marveled when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed made whole, the lame walking, and theblind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.

Canaanite woman - A Mother's Love

by Rev. Fr. V.V. Paulose

"Dear Woman, your faith is great! Your request is granted." (Mathew 15:31)

We are what we are by the sheer love of our mothers.

A mother's love cannot be measured. Mothers are ready to go to any extent for the welfare of their children. That is the reason for St. Paul's advice - "Do not despise your mother when she is old" -(Colossians 3:20). The end result of all the hardships and sacrifices endured by a mother always bears good results.

Here, the Canaanite women is at her most depressed stage of life - a daughter terribly possessed by the demon. Finding no cure, she went to Jesus with great faith, hope, and love. With great anguish, she cried, "Lord help me." at the feet of Jesus . Jesus accepted her request and healed her daughter instantly by dismantling all the barricades put forth by the then Jewish society.

Jesus' salvation and healings for all are not limited to the Jews or the selected ones. Till then, the Jews had believed that Jesus was sent only for Israel. And they considered the gentiles are dogs not worthy to sit at the tables with them. Both these contentions was out rightly ruled out by Jesus by testing the needy woman for her faith and answering her. During her ordeal, her mind, eyes and heart were concerned about her daughter’s plight while expecting the healings from the mouth of her Lord and God – Jesus.

Her love for her daughter blinded her from shame, humiliations and arguments. A mother's love can cross any barrier - that is love indeed and faith in action. She was even ready to be considered as a dog taking food crumbs thrown out from the children’s table. What she needed was the healing of her daughter which was granted.

The faith, love and intercession for the needs of others are always answered by Jesus. He would like us to do so continually. A large crowed was brought to Jesus to be healed and he healed them all. Jesus still heals people who are suffering physically, emotionally and spiritually, and we can be the ones who brings suffering people to him like the Canaanite woman. Whom do you know that needs Christ’s healing touch ? You can bring them to Jesus through prayers or through explaining to them the reason for the hope that you have.

Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Those who are in Christ, are always with Christ and do the mission of intercession. "We are confident, I say and pleased rather to be absent from the body and present with the Lord" - (2 Corinthians 5:38). So we intercede the prayers of the departed saints just as we ask the prayer requests for living fellow-believers. This is God’s command and biblical, contrary is diabolical and not in compliance with the word of God. So with confidence, we should request prayers of the living saints and the saints with Jesus.

After the Japanese earthquake had subsided last year, rescuers saw a young woman’s dead body through the cracks of her ruined house. But her pose somehow seemed strange like she was kneeling over something. The collapsed house had crashed her back and her head. When they removed the debris, they saw a 3 month old little boy wrapped in a flowery blanket under his mothers dead body. Obviously, the woman had made an ultimate sacrifice in saving her son. Inside the blanket, there was a cell phone with a text message. It said," If you can survive, you must remember that I love you."

The Canaanite now says to us all, "If you are alive and healed, you must remember that I love you with all the shame and sacrifice and even at the verge of death and mockery "

So do not waste a day by not saying I love you to your parents and loved ones for you may not know when they will be gone. And bring all the prayer requests to Jesus. Let them be healed and delivered.

Be a mother like the Canaanite woman.

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